Red Wings Remain Winless in Philly Since 1997, Drop 3-2 Decision to Flyers

The Detroit Red Wings lost in Philadelphia Tuesday night, running their winless streak there to seven games with a 3-2 loss to the Flyers.

The Wings haven’t beaten the Flyers on their home ice since a pair of wins there en route to a sweep of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals. In 62 total regular season and playoff matches, Detroit is 15-36-11 on the road against Philadelphia, with one of the ties coming in a Flyers’ “home” game in Cleveland, Ohio.

Henrik Zetterberg opened the game’s scoring at the game’s four-minute mark. Jiri Hudler gained the Flyers’ zone on a three-on-two and passed it off to Valtteri Filppula in the right circle. Filppula looked as though he would shoot while cutting to the slot but dropped it to Zetterberg, who cut to the bottom of the circle and roofed a backhander over Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

The Flyers responded on a Detroit miscue with 6:10 left in the period. Detroit netminder Joey MacDonald came behind his net to stop the puck for defenseman Doug Janik, who thought MacDonald was going to pass to him. The Flyers’ Jakub Voracek ended up being the first one to the puck and his wraparound attempt went off the skate of defenseman Brendan Smith, slipping past MacDonald.

With 1:49 left in the first, the Flyers took the lead when Niklas Kronwall failed to hold the puck in at the Philadelphia blue line, leaving Claude Giroux clear for a breakaway, on which he beat MacDonald stick-side to make it 2-1.

Kronwall would be involved in another big play in the first half of the second period, when he stepped up on Voracek, who was attempting to carry the puck out of the Philadelphia zone down the right wing. Voracek didn’t see Kronwall coming and put his head down as Kronwall slammed into him.

Voracek also hit his head on the ice on the way down after the hit. He did not return to play.

The Flyers took a 3-1 lead with 5:50 left in the middle period on a shorthanded goal by Maxime Talbot. Giroux had another break in towards MacDonald when Ian White flubbed the puck at the Philly blue line, but White and Kronwall got back to cover him and MacDonald was able to make the initial stop. Talbot jumped up to bang the rebound past MacDonald for the ninth shorthanded goal against Detroit this season.

Johan Franzen made it close at 8:47 of the third, snapping a shot from the inside edge of the left faceoff circle past Bryzgalov just after the expiration of a Detroit power play. The Wings would be unable to pull even, however.

Detroit went scoreless on four power play tries. The Flyers couldn’t score on their two attempts with the extra attacker but did add the shorthanded goal.

MacDonald stopped 20 of 23 shots he faced. Bryzgalov made 37 saves on 39 shots.

The Red Wings’ next game will be Friday when they host the Los Angeles Kings.

The Red Wings were without Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, Todd Bertuzzi, Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl and Patrick Eaves for the game. With Howard out, Jordan Pearce backed up MacDonald. Chris Conner replaced Bertuzzi up front while Doug Janik replaced Kindl on the blue line… Before the game, Philadelphia retired the jersey of former Flyer and Red Wing Mark Howe, a current Detroit scout.

Postgame Thoughts: Red Wings @ Coyotes – Game Four

At the start of this Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup between the Detroit Red Wings and the Phoenix Coyotes, it wasn’t that hard to guess that Ilya Bryzgalov would be the most important player in the series. If the Coyotes were going to upset the Wings, he was going to be the reason.

Bryzgalov was indeed the most important player, but not for the reason anyone would have predicted.

Detroit finished the sweep with a 6-3 win Wednesday night, scoring five goals on the Phoenix netminder and adding an empty net goal. Bryzgalov allowed four goals in each of the previous three games. In short, he failed his team. In retrospect, the result shouldn’t be a surprise.

All four games were hard-fought, each closer than the series as a whole ended up. If goaltending had come through for the Coyotes, this is a different series.

I’m not trying to throw Bryzgalov under the bus, his team could have limited Detroit’s chances better and taken more advantage of Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, who was giving up rebounds and bobbling the puck more than he probably wanted to. It’s just that it was known going in that Bryzgalov would have to steal games – it was almost expected that he would – and he didn’t come close to that.

As for Game Four from the Detroit perspective… Damn, the grinders were out tonight. The first Patrick Eaves goal sums up this series to me. Darren Helm banged the puck loose, took it himself for the shot, and Eaves drove to the net to knock it in. It was about physicality and taking advantage of the chances you get.

Red Wings Finish Sweep of Coyotes with 6-3 Win

The Detroit Red Wings rode three third-period goals to a 6-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes Wednesday night, completing a four-game sweep in their Western Conference Quarterfinal series.

Danny Cleary scored on a shot from the left corner with 6:19 remaining in regulation to break a 3-3 tie. Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov came off the near post and Cleary’s acute-angle shot deflected off of Bryzgalov’s arm and into the net.

Todd Bertuzzi put Detroit up by a pair 1:53 later when his wraparound attempt deflected off defenseman David Schlemko’s skate and slipped past Bryzgalov.

Patrick Eaves added an empty net goal to finish off the scoring, his second goal of the night.

Detroit had opened the game’s scoring just 3:47 into the first period. Tomas Holmstrom chipped the puck through the neutral zone for Pavel Datsyuk to gain the Phoenix zone. Datsyuk cut latterally through the slot and dropped a pass for a streaking Holmstrom to fling past Bryzgalov.

The Coyotes responded 1:59 later, when Taylor Pyatt’s attempted crossing pass from the left wing boards deflected off of Jonathan Ericsson‘s skate and slid past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

At 9:46 of the period, Shane Doan gave Phoenix its second lead of the series, winning a battle along the boards and stepping into the left faceoff circle to fire a shot that deflected off of Nicklas Lidstrom and squeaked past Howard.

Eaves scored his first of the night to tie things back up with 1:13 remaining in the opening frame. Darren Helm bowled over Michal Rozsival and Keith Yandle behind the Phoenix net and came away with the puck, coming out to the side of the goal and sending a cross-crease pass to Eaves for a tap-in.

Martin Hanzal put Phoenix back in front just 1:09 into the second. Radim Vrbata drifted across the front of the net with the puck on a Coyotes power play before passing off to Hanzal at the far side of the net. Hanzal buried it into the open goal as Howard dove to get back.

Detroit countered with their own power play goal as Niklas Kronwall buried a rebound chance from the slot after a scramble in front of the net at 4:49.

The Coyotes finished the night with one goal on two power play tries while the Red Wings went one-for-three with the extra attacker.

Howard stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced. Bryzgalov made 34 saves on 39 shots.

Detroit must now wait for the conclusion of the other first-round matchups to know who they will play in the Western Conference Semifinals.

The Red Wings played without Henrik Zetterberg (knee) and Johan Franzen (ankle). Zetterberg missed all four games of the series while Franzen was a late scratch, having taken the pre-game skate. Mike Modano replaced Franzen in the lineup… Jakub Kindl was a healthy scratch on defense.

Red Wings Score Early, Down Coyotes 4-2

The Detroit Red Wings scored twice in the first three minutes Monday night, jumping out to an early lead that the Phoenix Coyotes never recovered from en route to a 4-2 win.

With the victory, Detroit leads their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup, 3-0, and will go for the sweep in Glendale on Wednesday.

Ruslan Salei and Drew Miller scored just 44 seconds apart to get Detroit on the board.

At 1:57, Darren Helm fought off a check by Ed Jovanovski to get the puck along the back boards and send it out to Salei at the top of the right faceoff circle for a blast past Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. At 2:41, a Niklas Kronwall shot deflected off of Drew Miller to make it 2-0.

Valtteri Filppula made it 3-0 just 2:50 into the second period, carrying the puck through the slot and into the left faceoff circle before flinging it past Bryzgalov.

David Schlemko got the Coyotes on the board with 8:17 left in the middle period. With Phoenix on a power play, Schlemko got the puck in the left circle and drove to the net, roofing a shot over Jimmy Howard‘s shoulder.

Johan Franzen put Detroit back up by three 45 seconds into the third period, breaking in alone on Bryzgalov and sniping a shot over his shoulder.

Ray Whitney‘s power play shot with seven minutes remaining deflected past Howard to put the Coyotes back within a pair but Phoenix would be unable to pull closer.

The Red Wings were scoreless on four power play attempts while the Coyotes’ two goals came on three tries with the extra attacker. The last five Phoenix goals have all been on the power play.

Howard finished the night with 28 saves on 30 shots. Bryzgalov made 30 stops on 34 chances.

Detroit was without forward Henrik Zetterberg for the fifth consecutive game. He is not expected to play in Game Four… Mike Modano and Jakub Kindl were healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Postgame Thoughts: Red Wings @ Coyotes – Game Three

Obviously I’m thrilled with the Red Wings being up 3-0 in their opening round series with the Coyotes but I can’t help but look at some of the negatives of tonight’s 4-2 win.

The big thing is that the Detroit penalty kill has got to be better. It’s fantastic that the Wings are holding the Coyotes off the scoresheet at even strength but that’s five power play goals for Phoenix in the last two games. Unacceptable.

Part of that comes from getting the early lead and letting up. It happened on Saturday and it happened again tonight. I love seeing Detroit lighting up Ilya Bryzgalov (and who saw that happening?) but they keep resting on their laurels. A better team would make them pay for that.

I think the Wings have done a good job of matching Phoenix’s physicality in the series without getting (too) stupid about it. tonight was no different, though the Coyotes definitely won the special teams battle.

Part of me wonders how much fight Phoenix has left, considering how little they’ve been able to get going and that Wednesday’s Game Four could be their last game before relocating. I’d love to see them roll over but I don’t expect it, so Detroit will have to be ready.

Pregame Notes: Red Wings @ Coyotes – Game Three

After holding serve at home, the Red Wings look to take a commanding lead in their opening round matchup with the Coyotes in tonight’s Game Three in Glendale.

Detroit remains without Henrik Zetterberg, who skated with the team but is not ready to return from his “lower-body” injury. Johan Franzen will be a game-time decision, recovering from a sore ankle and a banged-up face.

Phoenix could see defenseman Derek Morris return. Or not, depending on who you believe. Ed Jovanovski will play, having recovered from getting “boarded” by Darren Helm in Game Two.

The Coyotes are still very much in this series. The Wings need to score early and limit the home team’s chances. They’ve gotta keep Ilya Bryzgalov busy, he can beat Detroit on his own if they let him get into a groove.

Start time in 10:30 back out east, with television coverage by FSD (local) and Versus (national).

Red Wings Hold Off Coyotes for Game Two Win

The Detroit Red Wings took a 4-0 lead early Saturday and held off a comeback attempt by the Phoenix Coyoted to pick up a 4-3 win. The Red Wings now lead their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup, 2-0.

Pavel Datsyuk carried Detroit to their early lead, factoring in on all four goals, scoring once and assisting three more times.

Shane Doan played the same role for the Coyotes in their comeback, scoring twice and adding an assist on three power play goals.

Datsyuk got the Red Wings on the board with 9:18 left in the first period, the first of Detroit’s two goals on the power play. After getting the puck from Nicklas Lidstrom above the left faceoff circle, Datsyuk drifted into the high slot and dragged the puck to his right, snapping a shot past Ilya Bryzgalov to give Detroit the early lead.

Brian Rafalski added another power play goal with 4:10 left in the period, blasting a shot from just inside the blue line past Bryzgalov.

With just 59 seconds left in the first, Darren Helm made it 3-0. Datsyuk broke away from three defenders in the neutral zone and raced in on Bryzgalov, taking the puck between his legs for a shot that the Phoenix netminder got his pad on. After the initial save, no one made a move to stop Helm, who jumped in and banged the rebound over the sprawled-out goalie.

Tomas Holmstrom deflected a Valtteri Filppula shot into the top of the net to make it 4-0 at 1:11 of the second period, at which point the Red Wings seemingly let off the gas.

Radmin Vrbata got the Coyotes on the board at 7:02 of the middle period, snapping the rebound of a shot by Doan through an attempted block by Kris Draper and into the open side of Jimmy Howard‘s net while Danny Cleary was off for elbowing.

Doan’s first came at 5:49 of the third period, pulling Phoenix to within a pair. With Todd Bertuzzi off for slashing, Doan got to the side of the net and backhanded the rebound of a Keith Yandle shot past Howard.

In the closing seconds of a five-on-three, Doan slapped a shot from the high slot past Howard to make it 4-3 at 8:37 of the closing frame.

The Red Wings were outshot 11-10 in the third period but held on, taking back puck control in the final three minutes to limit the Coyotes’ chances with Bryzgalov on the bench for an extra attacker.

Detroit finished the afternoon with two goals on five power play chances. Phoenix went three-for-seven with the extra attacker.

Howard stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced in net while Bryzgalov made 27 stops on 31 chances.

The two teams will meet again on Monday in Glendale.

The Red Wings lost Johan Franzen for a significant portion of the first period after he went face-first into the boards on a hit by Doan. He required over twenty stitches and returned early in the second period… Detroit was without Henrik Zetterberg again, still out with a leg injury… Mike Modano and Jakub Kindl were healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Postgame Thoughts: Coyotes @ Red Wings – Game Two

Trying to pull my post-game thoughts together after the relative panic of the end of today’s Red Wings – Coyotes game is proving harder than I expected.

Lots of complaining about the officiating going on from both sides, it looks like. Not surprising, from such an inconsistently-officiated game. I acknowledge complaints from the Phoenix side – they went to the box a lot early on – but I’m going to risk being quoted out of context by only focusing on Detroit complaints.

Two calls / non-calls really bothered me. Darren Helm went off for boarding in the second period on what, to me (not to Dave Tippett), was clearly a shoulder-to-shoulder hit. Then Ed Jovanovski gets all p*ssed off about it and grabs Helm by the jaw, no roughing call because no penalties ever happen after the whistle. Helm’s hit was legal. Never should have been a call. And Jovanovski shouldn’t have gotten away with that, either.

Second call was a non call. Johan Franzen goes to the box for a cross-check in the third period, partially a weak call but mostly a stupid play by Franzen, I can’t really disagree with it. Head to the ensuing power play, just before the Coyotes score you have Martin Hanzel cross-checking Brad Stuart to the ice without a call. In the span of two minutes we go from it being illegal to it being legal.

Ignoring penalties, further thoughts on the game…

Detroit came out exactly as they needed to. They dominated that first period, didn’t let up when Franzen went down (as they did when Henrik Zetterberg got hurt in Carolina ten days ago), and seemed to be poised to roll.

Then they let up. Call it “getting into penalty trouble” or whatever you want, it happened because the Red Wings got lazy and sloppy. And Phoenix took advantage to get back in the game.

The Coyotes were controlling the pace of the game for most of the third period and getting on the scoresheet because of it. It was one bounce from being a tie game after the Wings had such an early advantage.

The Red Wings closed it out, though. I thought they were really solid defensively in the final three minutes or so, keeping the puck in the Phoenix end quite a bit and clearing their own zone quickly. Valtteri Filppula probably should have had an empty-net goal but he botched the chance.

So what do the teams take away from this? Detroit held serve at home, which is the most important thing for them no matter how it happened. They’ve also seemingly solved Ilya Bryzgalov. Even without Henrik Zetterberg, they’ve controlled large parts of this series.

The Coyotes did make a bit of a statement today, though. Unlike Wednesday, they took advantage of the chances they got. Three power play goals after going scoreless on the man-advantage in Game One. They did some solving of their own.

Detroit obviously sits in better shape with the 2-0 series lead but Phoenix isn’t out of anything yet. The Wings need a road win to punctuate the series. We’ll see what happens Monday night.

Pregame Notes: Coyotes @ Red Wings – Game Two

It’s an afternoon matchup on NBC as the Red Wings host the Coyotes in Game Two of their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup.

Since Detroit won Game One, a lot of the talk has been about how the Coyotes need to be more physical and/or goalie Ilya Bryzgalov needs to be better. Both may be true and are signs that, on the flip side, the Red Wings can’t be content with how they played on Wednesday.

If the Coyotes can find another gear, the Wings will have to as well. They made their share of mistakes on Wednesday night and against a Phoenix team that’s firing on all cylanders, that could have been critical.

Detroit hasn’t started an afternoon game time on time all season, so that’ll be the big issue for them to deal with. The series is too young for a must-win game but if the Red Wings can hold serve at home they’ll be in very good position heading to Glendale for Game Three.

Red Wings Score Four Straight in Game One Victory over Coyotes

The Detroit Red Wings scored four consecutive goals Wednesday night, propelling them to a 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes in Game One of their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup.

Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Brian Rafalski and Jiri Hudler scored in succession for Detroit after the Red Wings gave up the game’s first goal early.

Kyle Turris opened the scoring just 2:16 into the first period, roofing a shot from the near edge of the right faceoff circle over Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard‘s shoulder.

Phoenix was poised to take control of the game for the rest of the first period, as the Red Wings took four penalties in the frame. The Detroit penalty kill came up big, though, killing off every Coyotes chance, including 1:29 of five-on-three.

Datsyuk got the Red Wings on the board at 7:38 of the second period. Franzen drove to the net from low on the left wing but the puck was knocked back behind the goal, where Datsyuk picked it up and wrapped it around, beating Ilya Bryzgalov to the far post to make it 1-1.

Franzen made it 2-1 with 7:58 left in the period, snapping a shot from the high slot past Bryzgalov.

Rafalski blasted a shot from the blue line into the back of the net with 1:44 left in the second and the Red Wings on a power play, giving Detroit a 3-1 lead after two periods.

At 3:16 of the third, Hudler snapped a shot over Bryzgalov’s shoulder after streaking down the left wing, making it 4-1 in favor of Detroit.

Radim Vrbata slapped a bouncing puck from the right wing boards past Howard to pull Phoenix back to within two at 7:38 of the third but the Coyotes would be unable to close any further.

Rafalski’s goal was the lone power play marker of the night, with Detroit having three tries with the man-advantage and the Coyotes having six, including their five-on-three.

Howard stopped 26 of 28 shots while Bryzgalov made 32 saves on 36 chances.

Game Two between the two teams will be Saturday afternoon in Detroit.

With his goal and an assist on Datsyuk’s, Franzen has points in thirteen consecutive playoff games… The Red Wings were without Henrik Zetterberg, still recovering from a lower-body injury… Mike Modano and Jakub Kindl were healthy scratches for Detroit.

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